The term “online registration” can mean different things to different people. Since our sales team talks with thousands sports administrators thinking about taking their registration online, we thought it would be helpful to debunk some of the popular myths and perceptions about what it really means to take your registration online.
1. Myth: It is just registration, and our current paper forms work just fine. The term “online registration” only describes one part of the process – a database driven registration management system will provide you with much more than registration, including a database of members, mass e-mail capability, team creation, ability to collect donations, etc. The reality is taking your registration online has many benefits.
2. Myth: Our registrants don’t use the internet. These days, almost all of your members have an internet connection in their home or access to the internet. For your members that do not have access, your registration vendor should have a way for administrators to complete registrations on their behalf.
3. Myth: The registration pages will show unwanted advertisements. Online sports registration vendors that offer “free” registration may need to post advertisements on your registration pages. Usually there is no such thing as free, as operating a reputable online service business has real costs associated with it. Ads are generally distracting from the registration experience – you should “own” 100% of the experience
4. Myth: The registration vendor will email/solicit to our members. This one is easy. You will want to work with a vendor that DOES NOT OWN OR CO-OWN your membership data, or anything contained in your database. Be sure that you own and have 100% control of your data and member information.
5. Myth: We will need to change/replace our website. Some online sports registration vendors require you to use their website content management system (CMS) in order to use their registration system. Since there are so many choices on how you build and maintain your website, your registration system should be independent from what website or website CMS you are using.
6. Myth: We won’t be able to enter registrations from on-site registration events. Although online registration should reduce or eliminate the need for on-site registration, your online registration system should have the capability for administrators to enter registration information on the participant’s behalf.
7. Myth: We will be forced to use credit card processing for all payments. Accepting credit cards as a form of payment is a huge convenience for your members, and it certainly makes sense to offer it as an option. Your system should allow check payments only, credit card payments only, or both. SportsSignup’s data shows that when given a choice between check or credit card, 80% of registrants choose credit card.
8. Myth: We won’t be able to take paper checks or cash for registration. Money is money, and your registration system should support taking cash/check, debit cards, and/or credit cards as a form of payment. Ensure that the system has easy ways to reconcile all those paper checks, and has receivables management built in.
10. Myth: Online registration is just too expensive. The reality is, most people prefer online registration, and are willing to pay more to have that option – as it saves them time and hassle. The most important thing when it comes to evaluating cost is the evaluating part. Until you can see/use a registration system from both a registrant’s and an administrator’s perspective, it is hard to make a value-for-money judgment.